“TIRED OF BEING THE LAST ONE PICKED!”
I remember a time in my childhood when I didn’t know many people at my school and I had not yet played many sports. In the usual games played at recess two teams would be picked by two of the better/stronger leaders. There were a few times that I was the last one picked. For those of you have been the last one picked you know how embarrassing and demoralizing that is – especially when it happens multiple times.
That kind of experience sometimes gets internalized in a way that turns into an inferiority complex. A person begins to develop a self-identity of worthlessness and that he/she has no value among others. This influences not only any kind of future ambitions, but also changes how he/she behaves in the present moment – any situation can easily be seen as reinforcement of their already inferior self-identity and a self-fulfilling downward spiral gains momentum.
A common sentiment expressed in the wake of being the “open” area to be served by interim bishops has been something like, “Why are we always the ones to get the bad end of the deal?!? The bigger annual conferences always get their way! New Mexico and Northwest Texas is the bottom of the barrel!”
These kinds of comments presuppose, of course, that the current situation is bad. The other thing that is suggested by these comments is that there are some in the NWTX/NM area that have an inferiority complex about our area.
It IS true that we are the smallest annual conference in the jurisdiction. It IS true that we are in the top 2 or 3 in terms of declining membership in the jurisdiction. It IS true that we have one of the lowest “Shared Ministries” (apportionments) payouts in the jurisdiction. I will not try to deny these facts nor try to put a positive spin on them.
But I am not willing to let these things define me and my ministry. I am not willing to let these facts influence the way I approach my calling. I am not willing to internalize these things in a way that diminishes the emphasis on the true mission: making disciples of Jesus Christ.
New Mexico and Northwest Texas Annual Conferences stand at a unique crossroads. While we will have excellent leadership by interim Bishops Hutchinson and Solomon, we also have the opportunity to step up. To rise above. To take some initiative. There is more than one possible response to “being picked last.” We can face the challenge. We can work to be better. And that is something that each individual must decide – regardless of who is Bishop. Maybe this is just the opportunity we needed.